Description of Historic Place
The Presbyterian Manse is a wooden one-and-a-half storey Edwardian Classical home. This residence built in 1900 has a gambrel roof and prominent central portico on a large groomed lot with ample lawn frontage in the Town of St. Andrews.
The Presbyterian Manse is recognized for its architecture, for its association with its architect and for its association with the Presbyterian Church. It is also recognized as being the childhood home of Mrs. Charles Best.
The Presbyterian Manse is an example of Edwardian Classical architecture. The architect designed the manse with the intent to give the building a formal and monumental appearance and achieved this by the use of Neoclassical elements. The portico with ionic columns and semi-circular pediments has a gable with a window. Two oval dormer windows are set in the gambrel roof in alignment with the chimneys. Quoins were painted white to contrast the dark clapboard covering of the house.
The interior divisions reflect the clerical and private functions of the house. A first hall leads to the former drawing room and study, and a second more elaborate octagonal hall, leads to the rooms formerly used by the family. An L-shaped wing, at a 45-degree angle to the house, was used for the kitchen and service rooms. A large gallery is accessible via French doors through the former drawing room and nursery.
The Presbyterian Manse is also recognized for its association with the Presbyterian Church. In the fall of 1900 Mrs. George Hooper, a summer resident from Montreal and worshipper at historic Greenock Presbyterian Church, provided a fund of $2000.00 for the purpose of erecting a pastoral residence for the use of the minister of Greenock Church. Edward Maxwell designed it and prepared the working plans without charge. Mrs. Hooper gave the property to the church trustees with the condition that it always be maintained as a residence for the pastor of Greenock Church. This condition held for about 100 years but it is now a private residence.
The Presbyterian Manse is also recognized for its association with its architect, Edward Maxwell. This was the first Maxwell-designed home in St. Andrews, aside from Edward Maxwell’s own home, Tillietudlem. As his own home was altered after 1900, this home serves as the oldest intact Maxwell home in St. Andrews. This home was built before he formed a successful partnership with his brother, William, an architectural practise that was among the most important in Canada during the early decades of the 20th Century. Their works still hold a place of prominence in Canada and include the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Birks store in Montreal, the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly in Regina and the Palliser Hotel in Calgary.
The Presbyterian Manse is also recognized as being the home of Mrs. Charles Best. Margaret Mahon, daughter of the first minister to occupy the home, was born here. Margaret married medical scientist Dr. Charles Best. While a medical student at the University of Toronto, Dr. Best worked as an assistant to Dr. Frederick Banting and played a role in the discovery of the pancreatic hormone insulin. Margaret (Mahon) Best’s diary has been beneficial in learning more about Dr. Best.
Source: Charlotte County Archives - Old Gaol - St. Andrews, New Brunswick, St. Andrews Historic Places File, “Presbyterian Manse”
The character-defining elements of this Edwardian Classical style home include:
- round dormer windows with heavy moulding;
- wood cladding;
- windows with ornate mouldings and crowned by a pedimented entablature;
- stone foundation;
- triangular attic window on side façade;
- gambrel roof;
- rectangular one-and-a-half storey massing;
- quoins at corners of projection;
- pilasters with Ionic capitals support pediment;
- Roman arched window in tympanum of pediment;
- portico with semi-circular roof;
- Doric columns supporting the portico;
- entrance with sidelights and transom window;
- wood paneled door with glass upper panels;
- wood base panel below sidelights;
- paneled soffit in portico.